Exercises of Champions — Dick Zimmerman (1940)

Today we feature some excerpts from an article which originally appeared in the August 1940 issue of Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health. This article explained a group of exercises favored by York Barbell champion Anthony “Tony” Terlazzo, who was active in Olympic weightlifting in the 1930s. The article was the first in a series, and it introduced the concept of “compound exercises.” This term was decidedly not used in today’s sense of exercises that involve several muscle groups simultaneously, such as squats and deadlifts. Rather, Hoffman’s publication presented “compound exercises” as series of individual isolation exercises performed in succession.



Tony Terlazzo demonstrating the arm and shoulder “compound exercise” series described in the article. Click photos to enlarge (will open in new window/tab)

Further reading on Tony Terlazzo’s weightlifting records:



Magazine Excerpts:

This is the first of a new series, “Favorite Exercises of the Champions.” In spite of the fact that there are approximately one hundred exercises for all parts of the body in the various York bar bell and dumbell courses, one hundred for the arms alone in the book Big Arms, and 100 additional arm developing exercises, 200 in all, which involve the arms, there are even more exercises which are unknown or little known. Each of the great York champions has his favorite exercises, many of which are of a novel and result producing nature.

The majority of these exercises serve well with other allied movements and like liver and onions, ham and cabbage, pork and beans or meat balls and spaghetti, work well together. Compound exercises have particular advantages as they provide at least a partial rest between each series of ten movements, yet permit continuous exercises over a considerable period keeping a much greater than normal supply of blood in the muscle groups involved. If a single exercise is continued for thirty movements a weight must be selected which is to light to begin, and although the movement would become tiresome in time, there would not be sufficient resistance to build the maximum of strength and development. Endurance such as is displayed by the marathon runner would result, with corded, stringy and only moderate sized muscles.

Compound exercises consisting of three movements in series, each practiced for a full ten counts, make it possible to use much heavier weights without too much fatigue, or working on one’s nerve, and at the same time bring a great supply of blood to the working muscles and keep it there for a considerable period. And this as every experienced body builder knows is the way to rapid and superior development. The blood is the supply department which carries all the needed material to every nerve cell and muscular fiber, the billions and billions of them which make up the entire body, and provide these important parts with the material they need for maintenance, growth and repair. […]

In line with our proven principles of training which have brought such fine results for so many thousands of readers of this magazine compound exercises fit admirably into the training of the ambitious body builder. Therefore this series will be offered as compound movements. Try them and receive the maximum benefit. They will add interest and variety to your training sessions, the tape and the mirror will show the splendid and rapid results you obtain.

This month’s compound exercise is one devised and practiced by the Olympic, world’s, North American and United States weight lifting champion, Anthony Terlazzo. Tony has won more honors than any United States weight lifter. Starting with a less than average physique, with only the ability to lift overhead with two arms 70 pounds, he has continued to improve to the point where he has had the great weight of 340 pounds overhead.

Observing visitors to the York Bar Bell Gym have seen Tony practice the series offered here on many different occasions, notably the third of the series of movements. Operating the muscles in the same groove always will not bring the maximum of strength and development. The more angles, over which the muscles are operated, the more diverse the training program, the superior will be the results obtained.

The first movement of this series is somewhat similar to the lateral raise except that the palms are up instead of down as in the usual movement. From the position with the knuckles against the thighs, the dumbells are raised laterally until shoulder height is reached. This compound exercise can be practiced in two distinct manners, either with each exercise as a series of ten, for instance, the raise to the side ten, the curl at shoulder height ten and extending the arms to overhead, ten, or with each movement three exercises may be practiced in sequence. The side raise, then the curl and from the position the pull or press to arm’s length overhead.

At the completion of the first movement with the arms at shoulder height palms up, holding the elbows at shoulder level, curl the dumbells in toward the neck. After completing the single movement or the series of movements, depending upon the particular system you prefer, raise the elbows slightly, and then straighten the arms extending them to arm’s length overhead. This is an unusual movement, and will bring a number of little used muscles into play.

This series is designed to develop nearly all the muscles of the arms and shoulders. The ability to exert strength from every angle marks the really strong man Regardless of what you desire to accomplish through weight training, gain weight, lose weight, improve your strength, development or lifting ability, these three movements and other compound exercises to follow in succeeding issues, will help you attain your chosen goal.


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